Small business loans made in Western New York through the U.S. Small Business Administration's popular 7(a) program declined year-over-year through January - both in terms of the number of loans approved and the combined dollar value.
New data from the SBA's Buffalo District Office, which covers 14 counties in New York state, shows that 193 7(a) loans were approved through Jan. 31, down nearly 9 percent from the same time period in 2013 when 212 such loans were approved.
Dollars approved fell from $41.2 million by the end of January 2013 to $38.8 million at month's end, a difference of 5.6 percent.
The downswing comes one month after the local SBA office reported an increase in lending through December. At that time, SBA officials said they expected lending to remain on par or surpass last year's loans.
Bank-wise, M&T Bank has approved 60 7(a) loans through January, making it the leader in terms of approval numbers. Meanwhile, First Niagara Bank N.A. approved more dollars than any other bank - a total of $9 million through January -nearly $1 million more than its nearest competitor, M&T.
Five Star Bank approved 27 7(a) loans through January worth $1.9 million. The Bank of Castile okayed 12 loans totaling $694,000, while Evans Bank N.A. approved eight loans worth $810,000.
KeyBank N.A., the third largest bank in Western New York based on deposits, approved seven loans worth $1.1 million.
Financing obtained through the SBA's 7(a) guaranty loan program is typically used by qualified small businesses to buy land, facilities, fixed assets and raw materials. It can also be used to buy an existing business.